Finidi George – Shepherding A New Era!  –Odegbami

Finidi George – Shepherding A New Era!  –Odegbami

To succeed in sports and to become a champion, as in life generally, is hardly ever a tea party. It is never easy. It takes discovering talent early, hard work, patience, perseverance, plenty of time to train and practice, discipline, commitment, focus, failures and disappointments, plenty of luck, and a good guide.

The surer and ‘easier’ path to become a champion is to be led by a guide that has been a champion.

That’s why I join in the ongoing celebration of a new coach for Nigeria’s Super Eagles. It is great news.

Some ‘local’ sense has also been applied in appointing a deserving Nigerian. The Super Eagles have been without a manager several months after the last Oyinbo manager left Nigeria for good and, hopefully, forever.

Also Read: Super Eagles Will Qualify For 2026 World Cup With NFF, Nigerians’ Support –Finidi

Before then, my worry was always when the slavery-mentality in our football at national team level would end? That is, when the lingering vestige of the Slave Trade, abolished Centuries ago, would finally disappear from Nigerian football as it has done in all other spheres of our national life – that ‘White’ is superior to ‘Black’?

I had thought that the ‘birth’ of this new Black nation in 1960 would steadily, thereafter, vaporize the remnants of any inferiority complex, including in the simple act of coaching Nigerian talented youngsters to play a simple game of football. It is not rocket science.

Yet, year after year, several Nigerians continue to condemn, discriminate against, and reject their own for purely sentimental reasons. Nigerian players with the ambition to become international coaches have suffered as a result of this poor treatment.

What special knowledge or training does a Nigerian require in order to coach football at his national team level? What would a Nigerian have to do to bring an end to what had become an unproductive relationship with foreign White coaches without pedigree,  brought nothing special, and even lacked the depth in playing experience at the highest level of football, and of being coached by some of the better known coaches in Europe? These are credentials that several Nigerian players have had in abundance.

Nigeria was stuck in this worthless and senseless vortex of a mentality that promotes mediocre foreign coaches, discriminates against qualified Nigerians, and perpetuates the racketeering that has been going on in broad daylight in Nigerian football.

That Finidi George is now coach of the Super Eagles, I hope, brings relief and, hopefully, an end to the clamour for White foreign coaches to handle Nigeria’s best and biggest brand – the Super Eagles.

Also Read – 2026 WCQ: Shun Undue Influence In Players Selection –Omokaro Warns Finidi

So, with joy in my heart, I welcome Finidi George, a fine gentleman, a respected and vastly experienced ex-international football player trained by foreign coaches. These are invaluable qualities that can’t be bought in the marketplace. He has been to the mountaintop of success several times, and can, therefore, guide the National team there again, and even beyond!

Finidi acquired the highest coaching certificates and worked as an assistant to the last White coach. So, he, like several of his colleagues of the 1994 generation, is ready!

Now, he brings all of that and adds to them what foreign coaches would never have in a million years – the deep knowledge of domestic Nigerian football, understanding the psyche of Nigerian players and their football culture of all-out ‘attacking football’ driven by unique skills honed on the bad training grounds all over the country.

When you add to these the organizational knowledge found in European football, a good Nigerian as coach can breed the best players ready to play anywhere in the world without fear or intimidation.

That’s what is in prospect for Nigeria as Finidi mounts the saddle. Is he the best Nigerian candidate for the position now?

I do not know. What matters is that he is one amongst a generation that has earned the right to start the football coaching revolution in Nigeria. It actually started with Stephen Keshi. That generation is special. It has all the essential ingredients. Samson Siasia was doing a marvelous job as a national coach until he fell into the trap of international swindlers. With his suspension served, he may soon bounce back.

It also includes Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Emmanuèl Amuneke and so on, who were given token, half-hearted opportunities that were deliberately primed to fail.

It is now Finidi George! This time, it must be different. The country must embark on this journey with the commitment not to go back to its vomit.

Finidi must be given all necessary encouragement and support to succeed.

He must be accorded respect and given essential tools to work with.

He must not embark on this journey alone and must have assistants that will add value to the technical team.

In my opinion that I know will be vehemently opposed to by several journalists, particularly,  is  Sylvanus Okpala. Largely under-rated by those can’t see beneath his seeming brashness and loudness, ‘Quicksilver’ packs unique, deep technical knowledge of football that can compliment Finidi’s calmness and intelligence.

Finidi must quickly learn to become a manager; how to properly manage the egos that rule and ruin many national African teams.

He must use his colleagues all over Europe and in Nigeria, to spread a dragnet that no exceptionally brilliant player,or emerging talent, would escape.

In Finidi’s hands lie the future of Nigerian coaches as national team handlers. Outside of the national team he should seek counsel from others in his field and come up with a strategic plan to harness all the human resources available to shape his work going forward. Good luck ‘ elegant Gazelle’ on the wing.

 

 

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